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[suh-pon-uh-fahy] /səˈpɒn əˌfaɪ/ Chemistry
verb (used with object), saponified, saponifying.
to convert (a fat) into soap by treating with an alkali.
to decompose (any ester), forming the corresponding alcohol and acid or salt.
verb (used without object), saponified, saponifying.
to become converted into soap.
Origin of saponify
1815-25; < Latin sāpōn- (stem of sāpō) soap + -ify
Related forms
saponifiable, adjective
saponification, noun
saponifier, noun
nonsaponifiable, adjective
nonsaponification, noun
unsaponifiable, adjective
unsaponified, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for saponifier
Historical Examples
  • The amount of this to be added depends upon the percentage of saponifier used.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • The fatty acids obtained by the Twitchell saponifier may be converted into soap by carbonates, thus saving cost in alkali.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • The saponifier is then added through a glass or granite ware funnel after the contents of the tank have been brought to a boil.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
British Dictionary definitions for saponifier


verb (chem) -fies, -fying, -fied
to undergo or cause to undergo a process in which a fat is converted into a soap by treatment with alkali
to undergo or cause to undergo a reaction in which an ester is hydrolysed to an acid and an alcohol as a result of treatment with an alkali
Derived Forms
saponifiable, adjective
saponifier, noun
saponification, noun
Word Origin
C19: from French saponifier, from Latin sāpōsoap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for saponifier



1821, from French saponifier (see saponification). Related: Saponified; saponifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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saponifier in Medicine

saponify sa·pon·i·fy (sə-pŏn'ə-fī')
v. sa·pon·i·fied, sa·pon·i·fy·ing, sa·pon·i·fies
To undergo saponification.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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